Bridging differing perspectives on ecosystems research to understand co-opetition

Ates, Aylin and Paton, Steve and Sminia, Harry and Smith, Marisa (2022) Bridging differing perspectives on ecosystems research to understand co-opetition. In: 36th Annual Conference of the British Academy of Management, 2022-08-31 - 2022-09-02, Alliance Manchester Business School.

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Management practitioners and scholars alike use a range of terms such as industry, sector, and market to describe and characterise an organisation's environment. More recently, the word ecosystem, a term borrowed from the field of biology, has entered the lexicon. Grand challenges of today are increasingly tackled by new forms of multi-organisational arrangements, representing the ecosystems. Consequently, the opportunities for countries and organisations to cooperate are even larger today—from tackling Covid-19 to climate change. For example, ecosystems explain the rapid progress in monitoring the spread of Coronavirus (e.g., the track and trace apps for Covid-19). Apple and Google’s decision to cooperate in creating contact-tracing technology for Covid19 enabled a rapid response to the pandemic. By sharing user location data across platforms, the two companies cooperated with governments, health organisations (e.g., NHS in the UK) and users to create effective notification apps. Therefore, a better understanding of ecosystems will help today’s businesses, managers, and countries find a better way to work and succeed together (Beaudry et al., 2021; Brandenburger and Nalebuff, 2021). We identified four main approaches to study ecosystems – entrepreneurial ecosystems (Marshall, 1920), business ecosystems (Moore, 1993), innovation ecosystems (Adner, 2006), and platform ecosystems (Kretschmer et al., 2020). Although the ecosystem literature is exponentially growing but also increasingly fragmented. Despite conceptual similarities, different strands with interesting contributions made by scholars from innovation, strategy, and entrepreneurship disciplines develop in silos. Accordingly, the main objective of this research is to bring conceptual clarity to ecosystem notion taking a multidisciplinary perspective.